How To Build And Maintain Exercise Momentum
Exercise routines can be complicated by busy schedules, loss of motivation, and confusion about how much exercise to aim for, and how to begin. Here are some guidelines to help you start exercising and build toward an exercise habit that you will enjoy and stick with!
How Much Exercise Is Right for Me?
Current physical activity guidelines for adults recommend at least 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity (or a combination of both), plus 2 days of muscle-strengthening exercises for overall health and prevention of chronic disease. But every little bit of activity counts! Even 5 minute periods of activity scattered throughout your day can help you reduce stress and improve mood, focus, and sleep.
The process of building a fitness routine takes time and can feel overwhelming at times. If you are struggling at any point on your journey toward building an exercise routine to manage your pain and improve your health, here are some tips on how to gain and maintain exercise momentum:
Make It Accessible
Convenience can be a deciding factor when creating an exercise habit. Joining a gym close to your home or workplace will make it easier to stop in for a workout. Prefer to workout at home? YouTube has many free workouts for all levels!
Setting realistic expectations will set you up for success. If you are a new runner, don’t start off by registering for a marathon. Set small exercise goals and build on them. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits,
“There is power in small improvements and slow gains. . . if you can get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up 37 times better by the time you are done.”
Mix It Up
Adding variety to your exercise routine can offer several benefits. Working different muscle groups will help improve overall fitness. If you normally do strength training workouts, try adding something new, like yoga, to your weekly line-up.
Keep It Fun
Change your workout from something you have to do to something you want to do! Exercise doesn’t need to be monotonous or vigorous to be effective. Why not try a dance class, find a hiking group, or join your kids on the playground for a fun family workout!
Track and Reward Yourself
Track your workouts and create a reward system for reaching small and larger goals. Fitness trackers like Fitbit and Apple Watch are great motivational tools to keep you moving, but you can also go low-tech by keeping a fitness log on a dry erase board on your fridge. Rewards for smaller goals can help keep your motivation strong along the way. How about a new music playlist for every 10 workouts completed? Or purchasing a Fitness tracker after consistently walking 30 minutes a day for 3 months?
There is no one-size-fits-all in the world of exercise. The best exercise is the one you enjoy doing. Be consistent, be realistic, make it fun, and reward yourself for goals achieved. Talk to your Hinge Health coach for more ideas on how to personalize a workout routine you will enjoy and maintain.
Elson, L. (2019, June 25). The new exercise guidelines: Any changes for you? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-new-exercise-guidelines-any-changes-for-you-2018121415623
How much physical activity do adults need? (2020, October 07). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
James Clear. (2018, November 13). Marginal Gains: This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent. Retrieved from https://jamesclear.com/marginal-gains